Jacksonville 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Jacksonville Dolphins (18-13, 15-5) - Atlantic Sun
Big Wins: 12/4 Belmont (65-64), 12/29 Troy (86-73), 1/30 East Tennessee State (82-72)
Bad Losses: 12/22 Bethune-Cookman (64-66), 2/1 South Carolina Upstate (59-70), 2/16 Campbell (83-89)
Coach: Cliff Warren
Probable Jacksonville Starters:
Ben Smith, Junior, Guard, 17.2 ppg, 4.0 apg, 2.2 spg
Travis Cohn, Sophomore, Guard, 6.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Lehmon Colbert, Junior, Forward, 11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Ayron Hardy, Sophomore, Forward, 10.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg
Marcus Allen, Senior, Forward, 10.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Key Jacksonville Roleplayers:
Will Alston, Freshman, Forward, 2.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Aric Brooks, Sophomore, Forward, 4.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Chris Edwards, Freshman, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Tevin Galvin, Freshman, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Evan Jefferson, Senior, Guard, 4.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Szymon Lukasiak, Sophomore, Center, 2.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Why The Dolphins Can Surprise:
While Jacksonville does turn the ball over quite a bit, they do other things to make it so they almost always get more possessions than their opponents. One thing the Dolphins do to keep the ball out of their opponent’s hands is rebound. Marcus Allen, a 6-7 senior, is the best rebounder on the squad, averaging 6.8 per contest.Fellow starting forwards Lehmon Colbert and Ayron Hardy give Allen plenty of help on the glass. Those three are also quality scorers. Allen spends most of his time under the basket, but Colbert and Hardy can stretch out the defense with their outside shooting ability.
The other way to create possessions is to grab some steals. As a team, the Dolphins tally 8.5 steals per contest.Most of the credit goes to point guard Ben Smith who averages 2.2 of those steals.The 5-10 junior is more than just a great defender though. He is the team’s top scorer and the point guard. Smith has always been an aggressive scorer and that has not changed this season. He will attack the basket very effectively and either find his teammates or score himself. Smith is also Jacksonville’s biggest long range shooting threat and that versatility makes him difficult to stop.
Why The Dolphins Can Disappoint:
Smith does not deserve most of the blame for the turnovers, but it is his job to keep this team under control, especially when the young players on the bench are in the game. The other concern on this team is the shooting defense. Jacksonville will go for the steals, so when the opposition gets a shot off it will be a pretty good look. Jacksonville allows the opposition to shoot 45.2 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. Both those numbers are better than what Jacksonville shoots and they better make sure they can get rebounds and not turn the ball over if the opposition is going to shoot that well from the floor.
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Who To Watch:
Smith is the only consistent scoring threat among the guards. Sophomore Travis Cohn will usually start at the shooting guard spot, but he has been extremely inconsistent this season. He might give the Dolphins a dozen points, but he could just as easily put up a goose egg. If Cohn is not scoring, Coach Cliff Warren will look to Evan Jefferson and Tevin Galvin off the bench. Jefferson is the more effective scorer of the two and he has only reached double-digits twice on the year, but his outside shooting can provide some quick points. However, it does not matter if the points come from Cohn, Jefferson or Galvin, or a combination of all three, as long as Jacksonville can provide another scoring threat from the perimeter.
Jacksonville By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.2 (66th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.6 (191, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.9 (111, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.2 (263, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (155, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.4 (116, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (157, 4)
Rebound Margin: 5.6 (27, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (154, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.5 (215, 4)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to Florida
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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